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Blues hear boos at home, on brink after Game 5 loss

Giveaways, scoreless power play costly against Stars

by Tracey Myers @Tramyers_NHL / NHL.com Staff Writer

ST. LOUIS -- The boos were audible when the St. Louis Blues left the ice at the end of the second period, with fans at Enterprise Center frustrated by the home team's sloppiness.

The Blues, who got to the Western Conference Second Round thanks to puck possession, smart passing and a solid power play, were lacking in those areas when they lost 2-1 to the Dallas Stars in Game 5 on Friday.

St. Louis now trails the series and faces elimination with Game 6 at Dallas on Sunday (3 p.m. ET; NBC, SN, TVAS).

 

[RELATED: Complete Blues vs. Stars series coverage]

 

"I mean, there were ups and downs all game," Blues coach Craig Berube said. "There were real good stretches where we were good, physical, on top of things, getting some looks. But there were other times when we were a little bit sloppy, for sure, with our puck play that caused them to get opportunities."

The Blues had 15 giveaways, some of which led to breakaway chances for the Stars. Goalie Jordan Binnington kept most of those mistakes from becoming goals, saving 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

Jason Spezza scored 2:42 into the first period to give Dallas a 1-0 lead. Esa Lindell scored his first goal of the Stanley Cup Playoffs when his backhand went off Blues defenseman Jay Bouwmeester for a 2-0 lead at 6:13 of the second period.

But the bigger issue for the Blues was their power play. It was 0-for-4 with five shots on goal. Entering Game 5, the Blues had scored on 22.6 percent of their power-play opportunities (7-for-31) this postseason.

Video: Stars, Blues allow numerous breakaways in Game 5

"Break-ins weren't good enough and I thought we were too spread out," St. Louis forward Jaden Schwartz said. "We needed to get more guys in there to retrieve pucks. It wasn't good enough. We didn't execute well enough, didn't win enough battles, especially on the walls."

Blues forward Brayden Schenn said, "I don't think we're entering the zone as good as we can. It's making it pretty tough on each other. We're kind of putting each other in bad spots. I think execution has got to be way better. As soon as the execution picks up, then the swagger will come, the confidence will come, and that's when we start getting chances."

The Blues had some good scoring opportunities, but they were thwarted by Stars goalie Ben Bishop, who made 38 saves on 39 shots. The rare mistake he made, a bad pass near his net, led to Schwartz's goal that made it 2-1 at 8:26 of the third period.

Video: Stars win Game 5 to grab series lead

"Ben Bishop was the best player in the game tonight," Stars coach Jim Montgomery said. "I thought the Blues were the better team than we were tonight, but Ben Bishop was the difference for us tonight. He's been the difference many times for us. ... He's our brick wall back there."

A loss Sunday would end St. Louis' season and put Dallas into the Western Conference Final.

"Got to win or you go home, simple as that," Schwartz said. "The desperation level needs to be the highest it has ever been. We've got to play our best game, and we feel confident going in there."

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